12/30/2020 6:31 PM
Article By: Mathias Medel
Lamar Hunt US Open Cup: Chula Vista FC to participate in 2021
Over one year has passed since Chula Vista Futbol Club successfully qualified for the 107th edition of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup (USOC) after a 2:2 (5-4) home win against LA Monsters. On that night, CVFC made tournament history, becoming the first team since the current Open Division Local qualifying tournament was launched in 2015 to qualify for the US Open Cup with three consecutive penalty shootout wins.
Anxiously awaiting their opponents, Chula Vista were handed a familiar first round challenge through city rivals Albion SC Pros from San Diego, who they bested in the first round of the 2017 USOC 3-2. Their first official tournament match, scheduled for March 23, however, was suspended and postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the United States.
After months of speculation regarding the cup’s future, US Soccer officially confirmed the tournament would be cancelled on August 17. This marked the first time the tourney had been cancelled in its 106-year long history. Since its emergence in 1913, the USOC has been played through several challenging conditions, including another worldwide pandemic - the Spanish Flu, and even the World Wars.
This time though, COVID-19 forced the suspension of several leagues originating in the United States, including Major League Soccer (MLS), USL Championship (Division II), and USL League One (Division III), ultimately forcing US Soccer to pull all 31 professional teams from participating in the USOC.
Regardless of the cancellation of the 2020 contest, US Soccer announced all 38 qualified Open Division teams would be invited to participate in the 2021 edition of the tournament.
Amongst those 38 qualified teams is Chula Vista FC, who eagerly await to see when their first match would be. Following impressive showings from the club in their previous two appearances, most notably in 2015 where they reached the third round, Chula Vista sees this as their opportunity to play against professional teams from the region.
In fact, a first round victory for CVFC could result in a matchup against rising local side San Diego Loyal SC, who made their debut in the USL Championship earlier this year. If Chula Vista were to reach the second round, which they have in all of their previous USOC appearances, matches would be raffled by region, therefore leaving a high probability of a match between both San Diego clubs.
As Chula Vista FC’s participation in the 2020 SoCal Premier League is also currently postponed due to the pandemic, the squad can only patiently wait to begin competing again. For now, there have not been any updates of a possible 2021 start date for the new edition of the US Open Cup from the US Soccer Federation, but it is certain that CVFC eagerly awaits matchday one.